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Lori Steglinski: Creating curated customer experiences

By Sean Tarry

Creating a Zen-like spa environment that offers tranquility and relaxation, enabling guests the opportunity to escape into an atmosphere that nourishes and replenishes their hearts, minds, and souls, requires a positive contribution from a number of different elements within the operation. And, perhaps most important, in order to meet an objective of this nature and offer visitors experiences that will meet and exceed their expectations, the proper leadership and management is essential.
At 100 Fountain Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., that leadership and management stems from Lori Steglinski, the facility’s Director of Spa Operations, who believes that establishments focusing on wellness are currently being presented with a number of opportunities to satisfy an increasingly health-conscious Canadian. Spa Inc. recently sat down with the industry professional to gain her insights concerning the challenges facing spa operators and the components that are necessary to run a successful spa operation.

Spa Inc.: Running a successful spa in today’s competitive environment is no easy task. With so many operational variables to consider and market trends to account for, it can seem nearly impossible. However, 100 Fountain Spa seems to function seamlessly for its guests. In your estimation, what enables the spa’s continued success?
Lori Steglinski: I firmly believe that everything begins with building a strong and passionate team of industry professionals. Having a team that cares deeply about the quality of treatments they provide and creating meaningful connections and spa experiences with guests really makes the rest of the operation fall into place. A knowledgeable, customer service-oriented team can really help elevate the guest experience and create that curated, individual treatment that our clients are looking for.

SI: There are a number of hurdles and obstacles that spas need to address and overcome in order to ensure their success. From your perspective, what are some of the biggest challenges currently facing spa operators?
LS: I think the pandemic created an awareness among the public about the importance of self-care and wellness, and the competition amongst spas for talented staff has never been greater. Here at Vintage Hotels, we are fortunate to be able to connect with local colleges and recruit top graduates from their aesthetics and massage therapy programs. In addition, I think it is important to continue to invest in existing staff and keep things exciting and fresh for them via yearly training and incentives.
For all spas, the costs associated with operations have never been higher. I think it is important for all spa managers to find balance between product costs, labour costs, and treatment prices to ensure their business model is successful.

SI: In this post-pandemic environment, how important is the visitor experience? What is today’s spa-goer looking for from their visit?
LS: The guest experience is at the heart of everything we do. From the moment our guests enter the 100 Fountain Spa, they are transported away from everyday life with the lushness of our indoor pool area and calming natural elements of the spa. Our clients are more discerning and educated about spas than they have ever been, and they are looking at a spa that offers not only blissful escape through treatments and amenities, but also skin and body care that is personalized to their individual needs, results-oriented, and deeply sensorial. We have worked diligently with our skincare partners to ensure our treatments exceed their expectations in terms of both luxury and innovation.

SI: How significant is your team of skilled professionals when it comes to meeting and exceeding customer expectations?
LS: Our team’s knowledge and experience is critical to ensuring that our guests’ expectations are not only met, but exceeded. We a great deal of time to invest in training for our registered massage therapists, aestheticians, and holistic practitioners via yearly product knowledge and retail training, as well as with our service-first approach with our guests. It truly makes all the difference when our team is providing services, suggesting retail products, and creating the exceptional guest experience the Vintage Hotels have become known for.

SI: Looking ahead to the next one to three years, what do you anticipate will be the biggest differentiator between top-class spas and the rest?
LS: The key factor for success will be in our ability to anticipate our clients’ needs and offer treatments that are innovative and curated for their individual needs—essentially allowing them to craft their own wellness journey.

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